Nancy Cheak-Zamora

Nancy Cheak-Zamora


Associate Professor

Research at a glance

Research Topics

Research Summary

Dr. Cheak-Zamora's research is focused on identifying the most effective ways to organize, finance and deliver high-quality health care to children and youth with special needs.

Current position

  • Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, University of Missouri
  • Research Affiliate, Population, Education, and Health (PECH), University of Missouri
  • Research Faculty, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, University of Missouri

Educational background

  • Ph.D. in Public Health – Saint Louis University, 2008
  • M.A. in Health Psychology – Texas State University, 2002
  • B.A. in Psychology – Texas State University, 1999

Classes taught

  • Health Promotions and Practice 1 and 2
  • Health Care in the U.S.
  • Research Methods
  • Contemporary Health Issues
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder and Public Health

Research interests

Dr. Cheak-Zamora conducts innovative research to inform policymaking, advocacy, service delivery, and research for children and young adults with special health care needs and adults with chronic medical conditions. Dr. Cheak-Zamora’s quantitative and qualitative research on health care transition for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder is the first in the field and should lead to improvements in health care delivery. She hopes to shape the national agenda in health care services for youth with special needs, health insurance, access to health care, and health policy.

Nancy works in clinical and academic settings conducting research in ABA therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, HIV care, health communication, and literacy, and examination of health status and health insurance duration. Dr. Cheak-Zamora has received several service and leadership awards including the Lewis and Clark Discovery Award, Young Professional Award from the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association, and Dr. James R. Kimmey Service and Leadership Award, and the Mary Gumble Levy Outstanding Doctoral Student Award.



Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), EASC-IDD-00233
Harnessing the Project ECHO Framework to Build Capacity for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research in IDD 
Role: Consultant  
Award: $250,000 

Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) Scholars program
Healthcare Transition (HCT) for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with Autism in Primary Care Setting 
Role: Research advisor/Mentor 
Award: $47,250 

University of Missouri System, Research and Creative Works Strategic Investment Tier 3 
Health Care Transition Planning for Youth with Autism  
Role: PI 
Award: $30,000 (0% FTE) 

Department of Defense, Autism Research Programs (ARP), Clinical Translational Award
A Novel Provider-Focused Training Program to Serve Transition-Age Youth and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder  
Role: Co-I 
Award: $500,000 (5% FTE) 


Health Research and Service Administration, Autism Secondary Data Analysis Research (SDAR) Program 
Assessing and Improving Health Care Transition Services for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder  
Role: PI 
Award: $100,000 (25% FTE) 

Population, Education, and Health Care Center’s (PEHC) Small Grant  
Disparities in Access and Utilization in Healthcare Services for Children with and without Special Healthcare Needs and their Caregivers: Does Physician Supply Play a Role? 
Role: PI  
Award: $15,000 (5% FTE) 

University of Missouri Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Small Project 
Assessing and Promoting Health-Related Independence in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Role: PI  
Award: $5,000

Selected publications

Cheak-Zamora, N.C., Betz. C., & Mandy T.* (in press). Measuring Health Care Transition: Across Time and into the Future. Journal of Pediatric Nursing.

Cheak-Zamora, N.C., Tait, A.,* & Coleman A.* (2021) Assessing and Promoting Independence in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Online ahead of print  DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000001021

Cheak-Zamora N., Nowell K., * Helterbrand E., * & Tait A.* (2021). Investigating Health-Related Knowledge and Independence for Physical and Mental Health Conditions in Young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder, 28, 1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.rasd.2021.101801

Cheak-Zamora N., Petroski G., Maurer-Batjer A. *, Beversdorf D., & Farmer J. (2020). Validation of the Health-Related Independence for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Measure- Caregiver Version. Journal of Autism and Development Disability, 1-11. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04690-2

Cheak-Zamora N., Farmer J.,* Crossman M.K., Malow B.A., Mazurek M.O., Kuhlthau K., Stobbe G., Loftin R., Mirza-Agrawal M.M., Tapia M., Hess A., Davis K., & Sohl, K. (2020). Provider Perspectives on the ECHO Autism: Transition to Adulthood Program. In press.  Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 42(2):91-100. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000872.

In the news

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Jan. 15, 2020

Adults with Autism